Wintertime conditions continue on Pat Mayse, as well as our other area lakes. Most of our lakes are still slightly above normal pool.

High water usually scatters the fish, even in winter conditions, and this is really challenging because in cold water only, the fish should be bunched up, but now with high water, they are scattered. However, when we get a couple of warm afternoons without any rain, water levels will be falling. When we reach normal pool, the fish will bunch up again on rock, humps, ditches, along old road beds and wood.

While we continue to deal with wintertime conditions, your presentation is so important because the fish are not aggressive and your bait has to be almost on his nose. Even if it lands there, you might not get a bite on the first cast so keep on — five or six times to that spot.

Your key areas on Mayse are main lake points with 10 to 12 feet of water, but close to deeper water and just out from spawning flats. A couple of these spots are both points at the mouth of Pfizer Creek and the Red Bluff — where the main creek channel swings up to the points that extend toward the main lake. There are a lot of other areas on Mayse with this same pattern, but the two that I mentioned have both rock and wood, which are good fish habitats.

Baits that you might want to have on your deck are Black & Blue Jigs, jerkbaits, A-Rig with shad pattern swim baits, a medium 15-plus crank bait and even a Carolina Rigged creature bait. A couple of old-school baits that work for me are a rocket shad and a Little George. Both of these can be fished vertically or casted. With the electronics that most of you have, you can drop that bait right on the fish.

At this time, with our conditions, a good day is when you can get two or three bites and land a fish or two, and one of them just might be your fish of a lifetime. Even though conditions are not favorable, just getting out on the water makes it a great day.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you right around the creek channel swing.

Fishing Reports

Bob Sandlin: Water stained; 53 degrees; 0.08 feet high. Black bass are fair on diving crankbaits, black/blue skirted jigs and red drop shots in 18 to 30 feet near creek bends, brush, rocky shorelines and dropoffs. Crappie are fair on minnows and lightweight jigs in brush piles and bridges in 14 to 28 feet. Catfish are fair on cut bait and punch bait in 12 to 25 feet near baited holes.

Caddo: Water stained; 52 degrees; 1.59 feet high. Largemouth bass are fair working jigs, crankbaits, finesse worms and paddle tail baits. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs near brush piles and timber near a drop off or creek channel in 15 to 25 feet. White bass are fair on white slabs in the main lake. Chain pickerel are fair small spoons and jigs. Catfish are good on punch bait, and cut bait in 12 to 20 feet fishing baited holes near channels and timber edges.

Cooper: Water stained; 48 degrees; 1.45 feet low. Largemouth bass are slow on Carolina rigged spinners, plastic worms, diving crankbaits and skirted jigs. The white bass and hybrids are slow in 25 to 35 feet with live bait and slabs and over humps, ridges and near main lake dropoffs. Crappie are slow with minnows and chartreuse jigs on brush piles. Catfish are fair on cut bait and in punch bait 15 to 25 feet.

Fork: Water stained; 53 degrees; 0.97 feet low. Largemouth bass are slow on finesse worms, silver spoons, diving crankbaits and football jigs near creeks with timber, roadbeds, brush piles, creeks and rocky shorelines. White and yellow bass are slow in deeper water with white or chartreuse swim baits, slabs and jigging spoons. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs in 14 to 28 feet in brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or dropoffs. Catfish are fair on punch bait and cut bait in 12 to 24 feet.

Sulphur Springs: Water stained; 50 degrees; 0.11 feet low. Largemouth bass are slow on jigs, brush hogs and crankbaits near brush piles, creek bends and fallen timber. Crappie are slow on minnows in 13 to 28 feet near brush piles and standing timber. Catfish are fair on cut shad and punch bait in 12 to 25 feet.

Tawakoni: Water lightly stained; 52 degrees; 0.24 feet high. Blue catfish are good on live bait and fresh cut bait. Channel catfish are good on punch bait and cut bait. Largemouth bass are fair on Texas-rigged soft plastics, diving crankbaits, football jigs and swimbaits. White bass and hybrid stripers are fair on live bait and slabs near ridges, flats and humps in the main lake. Trolling swim baits and diving crankbaits are effective as well. Crappie are good on minnows and lightweight jigs around brush piles, docks and bridge pilings.

Hugo: Elevation above normal, water 53 degrees and murky. Blue, channel and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait, punch bait, shad, stinkbait and sunfish below the dam, along channels, main lake, river channel and shorelines. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows below the dam, around brush structure, channels, main lake, river channel and standing timber.

Lower Mountain Fork: Elevation normal, water clear. Rainbow trout good on PowerBait, small lures and tube jigs along creek channels.

Texoma: Water lightly stained; 50-52 degrees; 0.03 feet low. Striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Largemouth bass are fair fishing soft plastic swimbaits, deep diving crankbaits, bladed spinners and flutter spoons in 12 to 25 feet. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs near boathouses, timber, creek ledges and brush piles in 15 to 25 feet. Catfish are good on fresh cut bait and punch bait.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and an avid angler.

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